A bill that would provide protection against executive orders on guns is moving through the legislature. 

State Rep. David Standridge (R-Hayden) is sponsoring the legislation, called the Alabama Second Amendment Protection Act. Stadthagen presented the bill before the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security

The bill’s purpose is to prohibit the enforcement of presidential executive orders that apply to the Second Amendment.

If the President of the United States issues an executive order that limits or restricts the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition, the bill would forbid any law enforcement agency in Alabama from enforcing it. 

If the executive order is deemed unenforceable, the bill would specify that no law enforcement officer may be ordered, directed, or compelled to execute or administer the executive order. 

The Attorney General of Alabama would be in charge of dictating the enforcement of executive orders and ensuring that the nonenforcement of the orders is followed. 

Federal gun laws are currently enforced by federal agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DEA, and other agencies since Alabama does not recognize federal firearm restrictions at the state level. 

The proposed bill would have no effect on federal agencies present in the state, so they would still have the authority to enforce executive orders. 

Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) opposed the bill. England believes the bill is unnecessary and unenforceable, stating that the Attorney General always has the option to file suit against any executive order. 

“You know what happens when we have a conflict between a federal executive order and state law? We go to court,” England said. “...Do we really want somebody to believe they have the ability to be insubordinate under the color of state law?”

House Democrats suggested that the presidency of Joe Biden was behind Republicans’ desire to pass the legislation.  

Rep. Tracy Estes (R-Winfield) chimed in to assert that the current administration is not necessarily the cause of the concern over executive orders. Instead, he stressed that any president who signed an unconstitutional executive order would be challenged.

“We’re not saying [Biden is] going to do this, we’re not saying the next president’s going to do it,” Estes said. “My understanding is we’re just saying if that attempt should be made, regardless of the president, regardless of the party in power at the time, we don’t believe that’s enforceable under the Constitution. And, therefore, we would not recognize that. An executive order should not be recognized just because Donald Trump, or Ronald Reagan, or Jimmy Carter, or Joe Biden issued it if they don’t have the authority because it’s not constitutional.”

The bill passed committee with a 9-4 vote, and will now move to the full House for deliberation. 

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